Letters for April 22, 2010

Filling the hole

Re “Life without stuff” by Todd Walton (SN&R Essay, April 8):

I enjoyed this article very much. I loved the tone and direction of it (optimistic, solution-oriented).

I personally find myself torn between being a consumer and a minimalist. Last year, at age 29, I sold almost all my belongings and traveled for a few months. It was so liberating, yet when I come back home to Sacramento to create a life and accomplish things, I feel an emptiness in my heart without certain things. I definitely find that without the acquisition of particular things, I (and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one) feel that there is something missing that can add to the warmth of life.

The question I propose is this: Is this a hole in the heart of America? Similar to the hole we fill with food? How do we fill it?

I like that essentially Todd Walton was directing the readers to the resolution of these questions. Great article!

Aleta Sage

Cooked inside our buildings

Re “Power outrage” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Frontlines, April 15):

There should be more power outrage, as Los Angeles alone spends $100 million to $174 million in energy costs reacting to symptoms of urban heat islands instead of using paint or shade. Although buildings are designed and insulated for specific temperatures, they are signed off as compliant because education is literally blind to temperature. As a result, massive electrical waste and more emissions are the reality instead of addressing the cause.

Here is a link to show the cause of urban heat islands and how they use energy (www.thermoguy.com/urbanheat.html). There are time-lapsed infrared videos, including one from inside the building, showing how people are cooked by their buildings during heat waves. Paint or shade, your buildings are illegal, and so is reacting to the symptoms with toxicity, including mercury.

Curtis Bennett
via e-mail

Oh, those power bills!

Re “Renter beware” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, April 15):

I live in a house that has been converted into three units. The hidden electricity-bill insanity here is that there are only two meters for three units! My electricity runs the washer, dryer and some outside lights. These are used by four other people!

I have a small apartment, am gone from home on work for three to four days a week and end up with $200- to $300-a-month bills!

The landlady has said she will change it for a year and a half. I’m moving this weekend.

Margaret Martinez

Lovin’ some beat poetry

Re “Pulse of poetry” by Elle Wrathall (SN&R 15 Minutes, April 15):

I have enjoyed Todd Cirillo’s beat-influenced poetry for many years now. As a fellow world traveler, I have observed Todd create some of his finest work while flat-out drunk watching an ocean wave crash along the shoreline. Kudos to Todd.

Bill Dober
Grass Valley

Jesus sez: Don’t ignore the poor

Re “My generation” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Feature, April 8):

As Mr. O’Neill discussed his graduating class, even though I do agree with him, I also believe he does have much to be proud of from his generation.

I am profoundly disappointed in any generation or group of people who profess Christian ideas and faith to treat with disdain any other group that seeks to help the poorest and most vulnerable of our society. They seem to forget that it is actually their Christian duty to do so, as Jesus Christ told us to take care of the poor, not to ignore them.

Michael Haley

His Sacramento generation

Re “My generation” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Feature, April 8):

This article very much nailed what was happening here in Sacramento, too. The ’60s here was, although tamer than San Francisco, quite a crazy time.

I tell my kids about the heavy-rock place that used to be between I and J on 20th [Street], where they hold the art shows now on Second Saturday. What a difference. I tell them about the Mel’s that used to be where the Starbucks is on 19th and J [streets]. After hitchhiking around Europe in the early ’60s (back when it was unheard of), I came back to this sleepy little river town and boy, did it look and feel different. I felt kind of out of place.

Protests here in Sac were minor compared to the Bay Area, and everyone used to go down there for major happenings. This place was very much like American Graffiti. There were lots of folks with long hair and beards, but they very much maintained a low profile. Most eventually headed for the hills or over on the North Coast, where many are to this day.

Sacramento has always been a very divided place with its distinct neighborhoods. You could always peg someone by where they grew up. Little has changed over the years. Like the author of “My generation,” taking a look at the outside world makes major changes, and I urged my kids to do the same (which they did). What has always surprised me was the “progressive” nature of this place, when it really didn’t appear to be that way. Go figure.

Steve Jones

Jim Crow in the Middle East

Re “R.V. blames Israel” (SN&R Letters, April 8):

Ms. Turner and other tireless Israel supporters always seem to forgive the 43-year-long illegal occupation of the West Bank and the four-year-long sadistic blockade of Gaza and the fact that the two principal political parties in Israel (Labor and Likud) have no disagreement about the indefinite continuance of this perpetual persecution of the Palestinian people.

I am a volunteer literacy tutor of senior adults here in Sacramento, and without exception my students are African-American or Latino—the harsh consequences of deficient educations provided them due to their being racial-minority youth in this country decades ago.

And yet they remind me of the Palestinian children I visited on my trip to Israel and the occupied territories in 2005. These children were receiving a substandard, poorly funded education in Israel proper, and what was the reason? They are Palestinian Muslims living in a country where being Jewish is special and everyone else is incidental. Their stunted lives are the legacy of prejudice funded by you and I as American taxpayers.

Israel is truly one of the worst inventions of the European colonial mindset.

Don Knutson